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If tensions between Cuba and the US ratchet up again under a Trump presidency, it would be a new stress test for Raúl Castro and his quieter, more austere leadership style.
Cuba will enter the Trump era with Fidel Castro’s one-party socialist state firmly in command, but without the super-charged politics and nationalist fervour he relied on to sustain it.
Both Castros long insisted they would never bow to American pressure.Obama insisted that engagement with Cuba, including fewer restrictions on US travel and trade, would facilitate the type of long-term democratic changes Washington had failed to bring about during a half-century of punitive sanctions.But Trump said during his campaign that Obama didn’t get a good “deal” and Cuba must do more.Those qualities helped facilitate the secret negotiations with the Obama administration on restoring relations, but they may not help him counter more aggressive language from Trump.
Raúl Castro doesn’t tweet, doesn’t give media interviews and shows no enthusiasm, unlike Fidel, for being in the spotlight.Castro thrived on confrontation with US leaders, and he almost surely would have enjoyed facing off against America’s next one.